Early season games are notorious for fluke finishes and the Pendleton soccer teams came out on the wrong end of a pair of them Thursday as both the boys and girls opened the season against La Grande in Pendleton.
In both games the Bucks took the Tigers into the half tied but then lost on abnormal circumstances, the boys falling 2-1 and the girls 3-2.
Senior forward Javier Ramirez put the Bucks (0-1) up early in the boys game, corralling a corner kick before putting it into the back of the net.
But La Grande came back with the equalizer before the half when a direct kick sailed over the Pendleton wall and past goal keeper Michael Imhoff.
Coach Scott DeSomber said Imhoff had a good game in the net.
"There were several times when he came out and made a good decision to get the ball before La Grande could get to it,"?he said.
DeSomber could hardly put any blame on Imhoff for the Tigers' second goal as it bounced off the back of one of the Bucks' heads as they tried to clear a corner kick.
"I?actually thought that we had possession on their side of the field more than they had on ours,"?DeSomber said. "We just have to pick our heads up and move on from here and fix the little details."
In the girls' game, Nelly Arroyo also was a hard-luck loser in the net as the Tigers scored the winning goal on a penalty kick coach Rocky Dillenburg still hadn't figured out hours after the game.
With the score tied at two apiece, Pendleton was called for a trip inside the penalty box at the 54-minute mark. Dillenburg said the call came from the far official on a play where both girls were jockeying for position on a loose ball.
La Grande scored first in the contest when a ball that looked like it would sail harmlessly over the crossbar got pushed down by the wind and into the top corner at the 10 minute mark.
But Amanda Plotzke (18 minutes) and Whitney Hillmick (30 minutes)?each scored unassisted goals by beating the keeper one on one to give the Bucks a lead late in the first half.
The Tigers tied the score just seconds before the half on a corner kick that Dillenburg said wasn't cleared properly.
"We put a lot of pressure on, we just couldn't get one to go,"?he said of the second half. "I?was real happy with our effort."
He said after a mediocre debut from some of his new varsity players at the Riverside Jamboree, the girls picked up the level of play Thursday and seemed to have gotten past the first-game jitters.
The girls will be off until after the Round-Up leaves town, while the boys will play at Hermiston on Tuesday.